It has been estimated that the federal government's three-week shutdown cost the American people approximately $24 billion. It's a cost that has trickled al the way down to Uncle Joe Dautcher's Farm Market at Mearns and Ivyland roads.
Judy Dautcher has not heard anybody say it directly, but the three weeks of flat business, followed by some pick-up the day after the shutdown deal was signed, makes it hard to deny the effect Washington had on this corner store. With the government's struggle finished, for now, she's eager for her customers to return.
"It's been really rough around here," said Dautcher. "Business clamped up that first week and stayed clamped."
Dautcher saw a big spike in interest following the recent grand re-opening of the farm market that highlighted the new bakery, transported from its former location in the now-closed 263 Marketplace.
"The grand opening went really well," said Dautcher. "We had about 800 to 900 people in two days."
The expanded kitchen has also allowed Dautcher to offer a selection of hot meals for lunch and dinner, including pulled pork, chicken soup, shepherd pie, smoked brisket and chili. The new offerings will help the Dautchers pay the bills as the weather gets colder and the supply of fresh vegetables dries up.
"With Christmas trees and wreaths, we usually do well until Christmas," said Dautcher. "But we still have to pay the bills in January, February and March."
The autumn harvest has brought in plenty of pumpkins to pick from, as well as some delicious pumpkin-flavored pies, bread and cookies. Dautcher spends about 130 hours a week churning out the homemade pastries and desserts, offered at prices comparable to the supermarkets.